Computer shutdown is a normal action you need to perform when you don’t need to use it for an extended period. Your computer can rest and save energy, and you can avoid a series of problems that come with using the computer for a long time, such as too high temperature and too many background programs. However, you may find your Mac won’t shut down sometimes. MiniTool provides this post to tell you what to do when Mac is not shutting down.

As a Mac user, you may tend to shut down your Mac in the following case:

  • You don't need to use Mac anymore.
  • Problems occur on your Mac, but you can’t hand them.
  • New applications or systems are installed on Mac.

A shutdown is a normal action for users running any systems, Mac, Windows, Linux, etc. However, what draws many people’s attention is that Mac won’t shut down sometimes after they told the system to do so as they usually do. What happened exactly? Can they force shut down Mac? What they should do to troubleshoot Mac not shutting down? Please read the following parts to find answers to questions like these.

How to Shut Down Mac

First, let’s start with how to shut down your Mac in normal ways.

Shut Down from Apple Menu

The most commonly used way to shut down a Mac is using the Apple menu.

Step 1: navigate to the Apple menu located in the upper left corner of your Mac screen.

Step 2: click it to open a drop-down menu and select Shut Down from it.

Then, a dialog box will appear, asking you “Are you sure you want to shut down your computer now?”.

Shut Down 1

Step 3: please select Reopen windows when logging back in if you want app windows that are open currently to reopen when Mac restarts.

Of course, you should uncheck it if you don’t want any apps to reopen.

Step 4: click on the Shut Down button to confirm your selection.

Shut Down 2

  • If you select Shut Down by mistake or you still have to save opening files/close programs, you should click Cancel.
  • If you do nothing (didn’t click either option), your Mac will shut down automatically after the countdown ends.

Shut Down Mac Using Keyboard Shortcuts

You should press Control + Eject simultaneously to bring up the dialog box mentioned above. Then, you need to decide whether you’d like to shut down Mac immediately and whether you want to reopen the opening windows automatically when Mac restarts.

What to press if you want to quit all apps and then shut down your Mac?

  • Control + Option + Command + Power
  • Control + Option + Command + Media Eject

If there are still unsaved changes in any opening apps/documents, Mac will ask you whether you'd like to save them or not.

What to press if you want to quit all apps and then restart your Mac?

You should press Control + Command + Media Eject. Also, Mac will ask you whether you want to save the unsaved changes in opening documents.

How to put your Mac to sleep?

  • Option + Command + Power
  • Option + Command + Media Eject

If you only want to put the Mac display to sleep, please press Control + Shift + Power or Control + Shift + Media Eject.

How to display a dialog asking whether you want to restart, sleep, or shut down?

  • Control + Power
  • Control + Media Eject

How to lock your Mac screen immediately?

Please press Control + Command + Q.

Shut Down from Terminal

Step 1: open Terminal as you usually do.

You can use this way to open Terminal: press Command + Space -> type terminal into the Spotlight search box -> select Terminal from the search result.

Step 2: execute the shutdown command in Terminal.

Type this command into Terminal and press return/enter: sudo shutdown -h <time>. You should replace <time> with the specific time that you want your Mac to shut down. For instance, you may type sudo shutdown -h now to shut down your Mac immediately.

Mac Terminal

Then, you need to type the correct password when you’re asked to.

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Troubleshoot Mac Not Shutting Down

If your Mac isn’t shutting down as usual, you should try to fix the problem by following ways, which work for Mac/MacBook or Mac/MacBook Pro won't shut down with the power button.

#1. Give Your Mac More Time

Sometimes, your Mac could shut down much slower; for instance, the Mac is running slow or there are still many programs, applications, and documents opening when you tell the system to shut down. You should just give your Mac more time to finish the shutdown process.

#2. Remove Peripherals

Peripherals may also cause the Mac not shutting down issue if they are still connected to your Mac during the process. In this case, you need to safely remove all the peripherals except for the mouse and keyboard, and then try to shut down your Mac again.

  • Right click on an external drive.
  • Select Eject “Disk name”.
  • Repeat this process to other peripherals.

#3. Quit All Apps before Shutting Down

Sometimes, you need to save the unsaved changes in documents.

  1. Navigate to your Dock on Mac.
  2. Check it for bouncing app alerts.
  3. Select Save from the Alert Window for each document that has unsaved changes.
  4. The Cancel option will stop the Shut Down process for you.

If there are frozen/crashing apps on Mac, you should force quit them.

  1. Right click on an app in the Dock.
  2. Select Force Quit.
  3. If this failed, you should click on the Apple menu -> select the app -> click Force Quit.

Repeat this process to force quit all unresponsive apps and then try to shut down your Mac again.

Force Quit app

#4. Reset SMC

The System Management Controller (SMC) controls some basic hardware settings of Mac, including the power button response. You may need to reset SMC to try to fix the issue.

Please read this page to know how to reset SMC on Mac:

How To Reset SMC (System Management Controller) On Your Mac
How To Reset SMC (System Management Controller) On Your Mac

You’ll need to reset SMC when finding your Mac acts strange. But the problem is how to do the SMC reset on different Mac.

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#5. Reset NVRAM

Some settings data of your Mac are kept in NVRAM (Non-Volatile Random-Access Memory). You also need to reset NVRAM when your Mac is not shutting down.

Please read this page to know how to reset NVRAM on Mac:

What Is NVRAM And How To Reset NVRAM On Mac
What Is NVRAM And How To Reset NVRAM On Mac

One of the most commonly used ways to fix Mac misbehaving issue is NVRAM reset. But how to reset NVRAM on your device?

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#6. Repair Disk

Method 1: repair disk using Disk Utility.

  1. Open Disk Utility from: Finder -> Applications -> Utilities.
  2. Select your startup disk from the left pane.
  3. Click on the First Aid button in the top menu bar.
  4. Click Run in the pop-up window to confirm.
  5. Wait for the process to end and then restart Mac.

Run First Aid

Method 2: repair disk using Terminal.

Step 1: open Terminal on your Mac.

  • Click Finder.
  • Select Go.
  • Select Utilities.
  • Click Terminal.

Step 2: run the following commands one by one.

  • rm -rf ~/Library/Caches/*
  • rm -rf ~/Library/Saved\ Application\ State/*
  • sudorm -rf /Library/Caches/*
  • sudorm -rf /System/Library/Caches/*
  • atsutil databases -removeUser
  • sudoatsutil databases -remove
  • sudoatsutil server -shutdown
  • sudoatsutil server -ping
  • sudorm -rf /var/folders/*

Step 3: restart your Mac.

What Happened When Mac Keeps Restarting & How To Fix
What Happened When Mac Keeps Restarting & How To Fix

Users find their Mac keeps restarting over and over again sometimes but they don’t know why. Can they troubleshoot it effectively?

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#7. Run Apple Diagnostics or Apple Hardware Test

You should use Apple Diagnostics or Apple Hardware Test to check your Mac’s internal hardware for problems. They won’t check any external hardware components, including USB drives.

  • Apple Diagnostics is built in Mac that was manufactured in 2013 or later.
  • Apple Hardware Test is built in Mac manufactured before 2013.

How to use it to test your Mac:

  1. Remove all external components (except for mouse/trackpad, keyboard, and display).
  2. Click on the Apple menu and select Restart.
  3. Press and hold D while it’s restarting.
  4. The Apple Diagnostics or Apple Hardware Test will run automatically and you should follow the on-screen instructions to continue.

#8. Force Shut Down Mac

What if you find your Mac taking forever to shut down? Your Mac may freeze or crashed, so you need to force shut down your Mac.

How to force shut down Mac:

  • Press and hold the Power button for 10 seconds or more. You should release it when the Mac screen goes black.
  • Press Control + Command + Power hold them for 10 seconds or more. If you don't have a power button, please use the Eject button or the Touch ID button instead.

If you want to restart your Mac, please wait for 30 seconds after force shutdown, and then press the power button to turn it on.

Tip: There’s also another way to force shut down Mac, but it is potentially damaging: remove the power supply and wait for the battery to drain down.

Is it bad to force shutdown Mac?

The force shutdown action won’t bring any damage to your hardware or weaken the system security. The main risk of force shutdown is file corruption – the files may corrupt since you turn off the Mac when apps & programs are still opening/active.

#9. Try Safe Boot

If your Mac stuck on black screen when shutting down, you should try to restart it in Safe Mode.

  1. Power off your Mac in any way you can.
  2. Wait for 10 seconds or more.
  3. Power on Mac by pressing the power button.
  4. Press and hold the Shift key immediately when you hear the startup beep.
  5. Release the Shift key when you see the gray Apple logo with a progress indicator.
  6. Just wait.

Mac Safe Mode

If your Mac boots into Safe Mode successfully, you may:

  • Disable open on startup to prevent programs from opening automatically after a normal startup.
  • You can also uninstall the problematic program that you know is causing your Mac to freeze or crash.

After that, you should restart Mac again to see if an unexpected issue occurs.

If all the above methods failed, you should also give a shot to the following solutions:

  • Turn off FileVault.
  • Update all software.
  • Contact Apple Support for help.

Recover Lost Data from Mac after Force Shut Down

When your Mac won't shut down after update (Mac won't restart, or Mac won’t turn on), you definitely need to take measures to fix the problem. After that, you still need to recover data from Mac because many important files are lost during the troubleshooting process.

Use an Amazing Recovery Tool to Start Mac Data Recovery

A lot of recovery tools are provided for Mac users to choose from for getting back the lost files and folders after troubleshooting Mac not shutting down black screen or Mac taking too long to shut down.

You should select a reliable one that will not bring secondary damage to your Mac and use it to start Mac file recovery ASAP. Let’s just take Stellar Data Recovery for Mac as an example.

Free Download

How to recover data from a Mac that can start:

  1. Download & store Stellar Data Recovery for Mac properly.
  2. Run the software to start recovering lost files.
  3. Define the file types you need to recover: Documents, Emails, Videos, Audio, Photos. Toggle the switch under a certain file type to ON. You can also turn ON Recover Everything.
  4. Click Next.
  5. Select the location that contains your lost data and click Scan. You may enable Deep Scan to find more files.
  6. Wait for the scan and browse the results to select needed files.
  7. Click Recover and choose a safe location to save the recovered files on Mac.
  8. Click Save and wait for the recovery to complete.

Recover and Save lost data

How to recover data from a dead MacBook?

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Shut Down Mac or Put It to Sleep

Shutdown vs Sleep

As all Windows users do, Mac users will turn off the computer after they’ve finished using it. Two choices are provided for them: shut down Mac completely or put it to sleep.

  • Shutting down Mac is a better choice out of consideration for power consumption and resource usage.
  • You should put your Mac to sleep, instead of shutting it down, if you’ll only leave for a short time or want to get back to work quickly.

In sleep mode, a reduced amount of energy will be used and it would be quicker to wake up Mac from sleep than powering it up.

What to Notice When Shutting Down a Mac

  • Please wait for the shutdown process to end. When the screen is completely black, you can confirm that your Mac really shuts down.
  • Please make sure your Mac does shut down completely if you need to open the case for adding extra memory or other devices inside it.
  • You also need to shut down your Mac before connecting or disconnecting peripheral devices: cables (for example, USB-C), Thunderbolt, Ethernet, etc.
  • You can force shut down your Mac if necessary; for instance, Mac frozen or unresponsive. But the unsaved changes will be lost after that.
Note: How to shut down MacBook Pro? The methods and steps are the same. But you need to notice one more thing when shutting down any Mac notebook computers – please don’t close the display until Mac is shut down completely. Otherwise, your Mac may not shut down properly and you’ll experience an obvious decrease in the startup speed when you turn it on the next time.

Final Words

Every day, users tend to shut down their Mac to take a rest. It is a routine, but some users are disappointed if their Mac is not shutting down. This could be a result of many reasons: Mac frozen, app stuck, etc. On this occasion, you may force shut down Mac or use other ways to fix the problem. If you find some data are lost during this process, you still need to recover data after troubleshooting Mac won’t shut down.

What Happened When Your Computer Keeps Shutting Down By Itself?

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